For the first time in years, there’s a competitive race for a seat on the Deschutes County Library board. Incumbent Martha Lawler, 65, is being challenged by Erin Pryor, 29, for the Zone 3 seat.

The zone covers southern and eastern Deschutes County. Only voters in the zone vote in the race.

Lawler moved to La Pine in 2004, after retiring from Caltrans, California’s transportation department, and soon began volunteering at the library. She was appointed to fill a board vacancy in 2011. Before that, she was on the district budget committee, and before that, on the La Pine library’s advisory council. Her love of all things library began when she was a small child.

Looking ahead, Lawler, who currently serves as the library board’s president, notes that rapid growth in the county has left some areas underserved, including north Bend. At the same time, the whole system lacks the kind of flexibility of design that would provide more meeting space when needed.

Board members are in the early stages of creating a strategic plan for the district’s future. They’re working to keep library taxes low even as they assure that all county residents have access to the materials, including digital materials, programs and other services the library provides. Lawler wants to continue to be part of the planning process.

Pryor works for Manzama in Bend. She’s active in the community and has done some homework to bring herself up to speed on the issues the library faces. Pryor would like to see library meeting spaces more available for night meetings, but it’s not easy to do that without allowing access to the entire building.

It’s good that Pryor has created competition for this position. That said, though, she did not provide a good reason to boot Lawler’s experience off the board.

Lawler is clearly the best choice for the library board. She should be given another term.

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